FHL/BIOL 432 | Summer A 2021

Marine Invertebrate Zoology 2021

Credits: 9

Instructor(s): Dr. Megan Schwartz , Dr. Johanna Cannon



Marine Invertebrate Zoology will take advantage of the rich marine biota of the Friday Harbor and San Juan Island regions of the Salish Sea to introduce students the principles of animal organization and biodiversity. Emphasis is placed on homology and convergence, diversity and complexity, presented in a phylogenetic and ecological context through the study of form and function of living specimens. In addition to the basics of invertebrate anatomy, development, ecology and evolution, lectures will also include analysis evolutionary changes and discussion of the fossil record.

Photo: Mikhail Matz

The laboratory portion of the course will use hands-on experience to introduce students to the immense diversity of metazoans found among marine invertebrates of the San Juan Islands. Lab time will be devoted to observing and learning the anatomy local species, key identification features, use of taxonomic keys and additional methods of identification. Students will document and compare numerous invertebrates during the course, recording their observations in lab notebooks. Lab techniques will include the use and good practices for bright-field microscopy, as well as dark field and polarization microscopy. Experiments and observations will be student-driven and the students will be encouraged to focus on function and behavior.

Photo: Gustav Paulay

The field portions of the course will introduce students to collection techniques for a wide variety of phyla. We will use the intertidal habitats of False Bay, Cattle Point, Padilla Bay, and East Bay to demonstrate a variety of intertidal collection techniques. In addition we will use the Centennial to collect subtidal animals with the dredge, sediment grabs, and plankton tows.

Student learning objectives for Biol 432: Marine Invertebrate Zoology focus on the variety of invertebrate phyla, their anatomy, taxonomy, ecology, and natural history, and include:

1. the characteristics and phylogenetic relationships of metazoan phyla,
2. the anatomy and morphology of group representatives,
3. the names of local species and the ability to identify new animals, and
4. aspects of natural history and ecological significance of each group.

Photo: Gustav Paulay
Photo: Gustav Paulay

Instructors for this course are:

  • Dr. Megan Schwartz, University of Washington Tacoma, School of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences
  • Dr. Johanna Cannon, University of California, Santa Barbara, Department of Ecology, Evolution and Marine Biology

Enrollment is limited to 20 students. No textbook is required for this course.